I had a hard conversation with my adult son the other day. He has chosen to stop participating in church, as he feels betrayed and manipulated by our church leaders. He no longer trusts the spiritual experiences he has had because he no longer trusts the context in which they occurred. He doesn’t believe the church is true. He doesn’t trust our leaders. He doesn’t want his young children to go to church, but wants them to be able to “decide for themselves” later in life without “brainwashing” at a young age.
It breaks my heart. Continue reading
Inari was born in southern Finland. 22 years later she was born of water and of the spirit in the United Kingdom, where she met the missionaries while studying art in Coventry University. After completing her Masters in Media Art she served a mission in Sweden, which left her with a family of hundreds of missionary brothers and sisters all over the world. Currently Inari is working to pay off her student loan before embarking on further adventures. The attached image titled “Amelié” is a self-portrait after Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”, one of fifteen in a series (currently underway), combining the search of identity with art history.
“The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories.”
I have often heard expressed the idea that we all are constantly telling ourselves a story of our lives in order to make sense of our experiences; an inner narration to structure everything into a coherent whole. This thought was brought to the fore in my life recently when I finally realised the real reason why I hadn’t been going to church for the past several months.
The backdrop to my inner story is that the world is open and friendly, and that things usually work out if you’re willing to put in some effort and not expect or think you deserve something. A mix of Lutheran humility and Mormon positivity, if you will. In my story I am the kind of character that does things. I make plans and then follow them (leaving room for happenstance, of course). I have friends in different countries, I travel, I work, and I’m a creative and overall positive, can-do, happy person.
On one such travel I met a young man (a convert like me) and we both knew there and then that this was it, and we were engaged after knowing one another for two days. What a story, right? Five months later we were bummed out by the hassle of making plans to accommodate other people (including those in bureaucracy) and decided to elope to Reno.
When things went wrong, it didn’t really fit into my story. I couldn’t make sense of it. I came back home from the States not knowing what to think. I felt like I lost control of the story. The weeks and months that followed were very unstable times. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It was like my mental author had slammed into a writer’s block and couldn’t make anything coherent come out of her pen. Continue reading
Sandra Tayler is a writer of essays, speculative fiction, children’s fiction, and blog posts. Her writing can be found at onecobble.com. When she is not writing, Sandra divides her time between four children, a cartoonist husband, a business, two callings, a scattering of friends, a neighborhood, multiple online communities, some hobbies, and a cat.
“Thank you so much for all of your help this year.” My son’s fourth grade teacher told me earnestly as she extended a little gift bag toward me. It was the last day of school and I’d walked into the classroom to retrieve a forgotten backpack. The room was stripped of its purpose, almost barren, with desks stacked in one corner. My hands paused before reaching to accept the gift. Her thanks were heartfelt, and I knew they were undeserved. I’d assisted in a classroom science day and attended one field trip. These activities had been in direct response to my son’s needs, not motivated by a desire to help. I’d filled my time with work, illness, more work, a sibling whose needs chewed through more emotional time and energy than I had to give, and yet more work. The work paid the bills and since I was self-employed, incomplete work paid for nothing. My son had been a trouper, calm and cheerful, until the strain started to show in a dozen little ways both at home and at school. So I had carved out the time to be there for him; helping in the classroom was purely ancillary.
“Really?” I wanted to argue, but the word stuck in my throat, caught by the same emotion that was pricking at my eyes. I got thanks for an effort which amounted to being physically present. Surely effusive thanks and praise should be in answer to a true effort from me, not the bare minimum that I had given. Continue reading
Kristie is a proud graduate of Utah State University (GO AGGIES!) who also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. Her passion for finding the perfect recipe for chile verde is matched only by her intense dislike of folding laundry; nevertheless, she remains determined to perfect the art of properly folding a fitted sheet. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart (who, through all of this, cheers for the BYU Cougars) and blogs about the adventures of parenting her spunky three-and-a-half-year-old redheaded daughter and one-year-old son with the most delicious chubby cheeks at www.paddyandkris.blogspot.com.
“Unsettled!” I announced, and I felt that sense of relief wash over me that comes when I finally catch that elusive word that has been dancing on the tip of my tongue, just out of reach. “I am feeling unsettled.” My ever patient and long-suffering husband nodded appropriately, good-naturedly enduring yet another soliloquy from me as I struggled to articulate how frustrated and helpless I felt.
He had heard this tearful rant in one form or another countless times in the 5 months since our first baby had reached that inevitable 12-week-old milestone that sent me reluctantly back to working full time. I was sour, irritable, and generally unpleasant about the whole situation; even though I had known throughout my pregnancy that my returning to work was just part of our family’s economic reality, I continued to harbor some sort of vague resentment that the stars of the universe had failed to magically realign themselves in a way that left me, well, independently wealthy, I guess. Continue reading
Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Merrill, who describes herself this way “I am a mother of four beautiful daughters, ages 8, 5, 2, and 8 months. I sometimes cringe at the amount of pink, glittery princess things in my house because everything else in my life is male-dominated. I am a mechanical engineer, heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and I love superhero movies and Star Wars. Thankfully, my 2-year-old loves cars.”
When I was younger I dreamed of having the perfect LDS life. In this dream, I would be the stay-at-home mother of several children with a husband who had a great job so we could afford anything we wanted. I went to BYU thinking that I would find a returned missionary and we would be married by the end of the first semester. Isn’t that what happens to everyone?
When I turned 21, I was still single and the Spirit prompted me to serve a mission. My dream changed slightly, but I still envisioned living the perfect LDS life when I returned. Then I graduated and I began to realize that my future husband may take a while to find me. In the meantime, I started down the path of a full time career. Continue reading